Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Latterman reunions reviews - three shows

This past weekend, I saw Latterman play three times. I'm usually not big on reunions, at all, but these dudes are legit and as much as I know them, are pretty much the same if not more punk than they were five years ago. I used to see them all the time and they and some of their future bands played my house several times when I used to do shows. These shows were ten dollars, with $1000 going to Queer Rock Camp in Olympia, so everything is good there as well.

Thursday, December 1st was at Maxwell's, in Hoboken, New Jersey. Maxwell's is a great venue for shows of the non-basement variety. It's really small, has been around forever and pretty much every band (including Nirvana and Fugazi) has played there. The sound is generally really good. No one who works there has ever hassled me, so I guess they are cool, ha. Anyway, some bands played before Latterman but I only saw a few songs of the one before them and that doesn't matter at all anyway. Latterman went on with really no fanfare around 10:30 and opened with "My Bedroom is Like for Artists Part 2," "Doom! Doom! Doom!" and "This Project Is Stagnant (Get It out of My Face)", as you can see above. They sounded as good as they ever did back in the day. Then they played a few songs from We Are Still Alive, I think five, which answered my questions about who would be playing the guitar that wasn't Phil's - Mike and Brian. Mike played most of the set, and Brian came out (after being paged for a minute) for four of the five We Are Still Alive songs. I think the songs they played from that record, not in order, were "Water Manes at the Block's End," "'I Decided Not to Do Them'," "If Batman Was Real, He Would Have Beaten the Crap out of My Friends," "This Basement Gives Me a Fucking Headache" and "We Work the Night Shift." Then Brian went away and that was the end of him. Following that, they played most of No Matter where We Go, as well as a "new" song, "Our Better Halves," which is the last song they recorded, but never got released until now on a one-song seven inch they were selling at the shows. As for No Matter where We Go, they played every song with words, with the exception of "We're Done For," which is a little perplexing, given the subject matter of the song - the social indoctrination of men into a sexist way of thinking, behaving and living - and that making men aware of this shit was always, at least to me, a big part of what Latterman was about. Oh, and there was only one song from Turn up the Punk, We'll Be Singing - "There's Never a Reason Not to Party." Bummer on that, but they weren't that comfortable playing songs/singing words that they wrote over ten years ago, which I guess I understand, but I promise there's nothing outwardly embarrassing on there! So yeah, they did their set, and included the "encore" song in the set instead of coming out and doing it, which is nice. Encores are pretty lame, unless you are legit about to fall over and need a minute.

The next night was at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Had to watch Yo Man Go, but we survived. I guess you could say we were still alive. Anyhow, Latterman played and that was all that mattered. They played the same set. Brian was again nowhere to be found initially. Jeff from Bridge and Tunnel came out and laid down some brutal vocals on "There's Never a Reason Not to Party," as he also did on Sunday, and I would assume Saturday, as he said he would also be at that show. Phil's head (a Peavey 5150 - I remember he used to play this Fender Rock Pro head, at least he's got all tubes now) broke and they switched it out for some Mesa. They were really good again. They had some problems with people stage diving and crowdsurfing. Matt and Phil were calling them out for it, with them being the staunchly anti-stage diving people they are. It was cool. No one was hostile toward the band for it, as least as far as I could tell. It stopped pretty quickly, until the last song, because really, what can they do at that point, stop playing? Probably not. People were definitely more wild than the night before, but no one was really out of hand, especially considering that it was a punk show with a few hundred people and I've seen some people do really, really stupid shit in similar circumstances. So yeah, overall, good time. They definitely played with more energy than the night before, which I suppose is to be expected. These were consecutively the largest shows they had every played, I believe. Oh right. There was some piece of shit with a Hot Topic embroidered patch vest of every band he listens to, as well as one reading "If it has wheels or tits, it's going to give me problems." After Yo Man Go was done, I'm pretty sure I watched a woman who had been standing behind him tell him off for it, at which point he sheepishly looked around and walked out. I didn't see him again.

Skipped Saturday's show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Sunday night was at the Bell House in Brooklyn. It was "sold out" but they definitely don't have a policy of packing the place, which I REALLY enjoy cause you can still move around quite freely at pretty much all times and no one has to be up your ass. So, Latterman played again...and it was the same set, but it was with the most energy I saw out of the three shows. If you closed your eyes and pretended you were in a basement, it was as though nothing had changed. Matt and Phil were still in great voice, Pat was playing hard as fuck, and the music was really tight. No one stagedove and maybe a handful of people crowdsurfed, but not to the extent that anything was said about it. This was the best night out of the three, as far as their performance. Really high energy and fucking spot on. They closed again with "My Bedroom Is Like for Artists," as you can see below. There are other videos of these shows, but I didn't take them, haha. They thanked everyone and each other and hugged and whatnot and that was that. They didn't practice any other songs, so they had nothing else to play, though I guess they could have played a song again, but that would be weird.

Final thoughts - it was good to see them all on stage again, pounding it out. They made the songs from We Are Still Alive sound a lot better to me, as I am not a huge fan of that record. I think the production is strangely stale and sterile sounding, the songs are not that upbeat and the lyrics are kind of bummed. It's just a different Latterman, and it doesn't really sound like Latterman live. There are definitely some great songs on there though, and I will be revisiting it for sure. The first two records sound like the band sounded when they played, and the songs from We Are Still Alive fit in much better live than they do on record. It would have been nice to see them play "The Biggest Sausage Party Ever" or "We're Done For," keeping with the band's decidedly pro-feminist stance. Whatever the case, they played really well and I was happy with the song selection, overall. Would have been nice to see them play some different songs from night to night. Where was Pat's Baltimore Orioles shirt? I definitely didn't feel like they were going through the motions. They all seemed genuinely into it and appreciative of people being there and being able to play again. It was also kind of reassuring and uplifting to see a bunch of people who had been friends for so long and who I know had some really serious issues for a while back together and putting things behind them. It makes me feel a little bit of hope in a world that rarely gives me hope for anything.